Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sewing with Morgan, shortening a dress.

Lesson four with Morgan. And boy, is she getting good at sewing. Yesterday she brought over a dress she bought that needed repair and we shortened this green dress above. Annette gave me this dress from her vintage shop, Sweet Ludie's, back in January. I initially got it for myself and planned on shortening it, but it was a tad too small on my waist. Morgan spotted it on my dressform a few lessons back and commented on how much she liked it. I let her try it on, and teeny little Morgan fit into it perfectly! 
We started by getting out my chalk hem marker. This little contraption is definitely worth buying for those of you that shorten skirts frequently. It measures the distance from the ground all the way around. Using a little hand pump, air pressure blasts your fabric with a horizontal chalk mark, precisely and accurately. Do this every few inches. This tool is great if you do not have someone around to help you mark your hem. See me using it here to shorten a skirt of my own.
Using the chalk marks as the bottom of the new hem, we pinned up the dress to see how Morgan liked the new length. It is best to do this before you cut anything. Once you cut the fabric you can't put it back if it's a few inches too short. 
She is satisfied. Keep in mind all the bulk fabric pinned up under the dress makes it fall differently than if the fabric was cut off. It will be a tad bit longer without the excess fabric underneath.
After removing all the pins and getting back out of the dress, Morgan marks two inches down from every chalk mark made with the hem marker. Her seam allowance will be two inches. She will be sewing a double-folded hem.
Cut fabric along the bottom chalk marks.
Pin double folded hem.
 Sewing tip: when choosing your thread. Make sure it disappears on your fabric!
Try it on one last time, if you'd like, to be sure it is the desired length. Again, it is easier to slip it on really quick than to rip out an entire seam if it's a tad too short. The two inch seam allowance is handy for that in case you want it a little longer. Notice how the original circular cut of the skirt is still kept with this alteration. The original style is still intact, but updated for today's style.
Sew 5/8" in from edge of fabric.
Ta-da! New dress! Much more modern with the shortened skirt. And don't you just adore Morgan's feather tattoo? It's so pretty. 
Be sure to press the hem before wearing it.
And, as always, Morgan looks fabulous!

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  1. So fun! And it's perfect for her!

  2. Thanks for posting this! I'm going to follow it on my first hemming.